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What is enzyme therapy?

Digestion and intestines

Still little known in Europe, used also against sports injuries in the US

 The systemic enzyme therapy, also called SET, is probably still unknown to most people in Europe, while overseas, particularly in the United States, has been hotly debated for several years.

 Indeed, over there, for example, this therapy is being particularly exploited also by professional athletes and those who practice high-impact physical activity, to help the body to "deal" more quickly with any trauma; therefore, «many athletes take enzymes before participating in competitions involving risks of injuries. The success of preventative enzyme “treatment” [...] is so striking that a few days before a competition, the American Boxsporting Association prescribes the boxers consumption of enzymes to accelerate physical recovery.» (Sven-Jörg Buslau, Corinna Hembd, Papaya. Le proprietà terapeutiche dei suoi preziosi enzimi, Tecniche Nuove 2004).

The crucial role of the digestive enzymes

 The one who is currently considered the true "father" of this therapy, Dr Edward Howell, as early as the 1930s-40s, devoted much of his work to the study of enzymes and their functions.

The main aspect highlighted in the writings by Dr Howell is that digestive enzymes, besides helping us digest, can improve the overall health of our body. The digestive process, in fact, requires a lot of "energy" from our body and its slowdown subtracts part of these energies to other vital functions.

To highlight the crucial role played by enzymes in the human body, Howell came to summarise that "life is an enzyme process" ("Life is an enzyme process," E. Howell, Enzyme nutrition: The food enzymes concept, 1987).

What exactly are enzymes? Besides, what role do they play in our bodies?

Enzymes are but proteins that serve to "speed up" certain biological functions.

They work in combination with specific substances, in order to operate a processing thereof to make them usable by the body: a classic example are the digestive enzymes present in various regions of the human body (saliva, stomach, small intestine, pancreas), that "attack" foods to decompose them and thus make them easily assimilated and used.

 Dr Howell argues that each human being at birth has a sort of "deposit" of enzymes, which is progressively eroded by misbehaviour and bad eating habits (such as, for example, the excessive cooking of food).

That is why, to address the growing shortage of enzymes, it can be useful to enlist specific products rich in natural digestive enzymes to supplement your diet with.

 Some studies have also highlighted the role played by proteolytic enzymes (i.e. those enzymes responsible for "attacking" proteins), even in preventing different types of problems; among them, we must remember bromelain, obtained from the stems of pineapples, useful against inflammatory conditions, including cellulitis; bromelain is actually widely used «especially as an anti-inflammatory agent in the “treatment” of soft tissue oedema...» (A. Bruni, Farmacognosia generale e applicata, Piccin, Padova 1999).


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